Erdogan: Turkey wants to join US-led operation against ISIS in Raqqa

By REUTERS
September 25, 2016 12:14

 
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ISTANBUL - Turkey wants to join the United States in a military operation to push Islamic State from its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, as long as it excludes Kurdish rebel forces, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Sunday.

NATO member Turkey, part of the US-led coalition battling Islamic State, is backing Arab and Turkmen Syrian rebels who seized the Syrian town of Jarablus from the jihadists a month ago in an operation it has dubbed "Euphrates Shield."

But Ankara is wary of the US-allied People's Protection Units (YPG) and its political arm, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Syrian Kurdish groups it sees as extensions of Kurdish militants who have waged a three-decade insurgency on its own soil.

"Our foreign minister and military authorities are in talks with the United States discussing the matter of Raqqa. We shared with them our conditions," Erdogan told reporters on his plane returning from New York, where he spoke at the annual United Nations general assembly and met US Vice President Joe Biden.

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